Sunday 25 September 2016

Music world pays tribute to Lemmy - a 'monster of rock' with moles and mutton chops

Rachael Alexander in Los Angeles

Published 30/12/2015 | 02:30

Ian Fraser
Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister, lead singer of British rock band Motorhead

Lanky and long-haired, with mutton chops and moles, 'monster of rock' Ian 'Lemmy' Kilmister looked and lived like a heavy metal hero.

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He founded Motorhead in 1975, and continued recording and touring with the band until his death, and began every live show with the announcement: "We are Motorhead - and we play rock 'n' roll!"

The singer and bassist died on Monday at the age of 70 after a brief battle with aggressive cancer, said his agent Andrew Goodfriend. He had only learned of the diagnosis just two days earlier, according to a statement from the band.

"We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren't words," the band said in announcing the death on its Facebook page. "Play Motorhead loud, play Hawkwind loud, play Lemmy's music LOUD. Have a drink or few. Share stories. Celebrate the LIFE this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself. He would want exactly that."

Born on Christmas Eve, 1945, in Staffordshire, England, Kilmister was deeply respected and revered as a rock master and innovator - from his time with the seminal psychedelic band Hawkwind in the early '70s to his four decades in Motorhead, best known for the 1980 anthem 'Ace of Spades'. The band won a Grammy for 2004's best metal performance.

Ozzy Osbourne called him "one of my best friends".

"He will be sadly missed," Osbourne wrote on Twitter. "He was a warrior and a legend. I will see you on the other side."

US rockers Metallica tweeted: "Lemmy, you are one of the primary reasons this band exists. We're forever grateful for all of your inspiration."

And numerous other rock musicians took to social media to pay tribute, including Queen guitarist Brian May, Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler, Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue and Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer, who tweeted: "RIP #Lemmy, heaven is rockin' tonight."

Kilmister had suffered numerous health issues in recent months.

As tributes poured in for Motorhead's frontman, it was evident that he will be remembered not only for his great music, but also for his many memorable quotes.

He famously said: "Apparently people don't like the truth, but I do like it, because it upsets a lot of people. If you show them enough times that their arguments are bullshit, then maybe just once, one of them will say, 'Oh! Wait a minute - I was wrong.' I live for that happening. Rare, I assure you," he wrote in his autobiography, 'White Line Fever'.

Describing the Beatles, he said: "They would come on stage (The Beatles) and you were just awestruck. They had that presence, which is very rare. Hendrix had it, Ozzy Osbourne has it, to an extent. You've either got it or you haven't."

He was not unduly bothered by fame, saying: "I like being the centre of attention as much as anybody, so I didn't mind. I was in it for the girls, to tell the truth. I think if more musicians told the truth, that would be the reason why most of them are in it. When you're young and you're desperate to get laid, you work out that being a bricklayer isn't that attractive. I was never going to be a doctor or a lawyer, so being a musician seemed to be the best of what was on offer," he told 'The Independent'.

And he did not overly concern himself with kowtowing to fellow musicians, telling 'Rolling Stone': "There's only two kinds of music I can't stand: rap and opera. Opera because it's too overblown, and rap because I just don't hear it."

When asked by 'Rolling Stone' if he listened to younger bands during an interview in November 2012, he said: "I was a roadie for Jimi Hendrix for seven months, so I'm pretty hard to f*****g impress, man. You'd have to beat Jimi Hendrix to impress me - and I don't see anybody doing that."

He had a reputation for substance abuse and hard drinking, which may or may not have contributed to the trademark gravel in his voice.

Upon being fired from his previous band Hawkwind, he declared, according to the band's website, that it was because he had been "doing the wrong drugs". In fact, he had been arrested at the Canadian border on suspicion of possessing cocaine and spent five days in prison, causing Hawkwind to cancel some US tour dates.

But his influence on music will be his greatest legacy, as Motorhead were credited with spawning the thrash and speed metal scenes.

His death comes little more than a month after that of Motorhead's first drummer, Phil 'Philthy Animal' Taylor.

Irish Independent

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